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CPRE Bedfordshire Briefing Document Changes to National Planning Policy – Calculation of Housing Need.

Tuesday, 07 May 2019 08:58


Communities in Bedford Borough under threat from opportunistic planning applications.

The following Briefing Document is aimed at Town & Parish Councils in Bedford Borough, Bedford Borough Councillors and others who have asked for our views on the impact of recent changes to National Planning Policy made by the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHC&LG).


At the bottom of the page is a copy of a letter that CPRE Bedfordshire sent to Alistair Burt MP on 7th April. It details our serious concerns regarding recent changes made to the way in which Local Authorities are obliged to calculate Housing Need in their area.

This despite the strong representations against the changes made by CPRE and others during government consultations which ended in December last year.

We have asked our MP to intervene with the MHC&LG on this matter and to request that they reconsider the changes which will:


1. Increase the number of new homes that Bedford Borough Council will be obliged to build from 970 per year (Local Plan 2030) to 1,300 per year – a massive and unsustainable +35% increase!


2. Encourage developers/landowners to submit opportunistic planning applications across the Borough that will be opposed by local communities but which Bedford Borough Council will be unable to refuse, even though they don’t conform to their Local Plan.

We are already seeing speculative applications in Harrold, Bromham, Clapham and Thurleigh and we believe that more are in the system.


3. The Review of Local Plan 2030 that BBC say they will undertake as soon as it is approved and adopted (end 2019) will mean another massive hike in housing numbers. The new Housing Need figure of 1,300 new homes per year will be the minimum requirement! This is exactly what CPRE Bedfordshire predicted would happen in our response to the Local Plan 2030 consultation. The proposed New Towns at Sharnbrook/Colworth, Twinwoods, Thurleigh, Wyboston and Bedford South will all be up for consideration yet again. All this will be a massive threat to the Neighbourhood Plan process which many communities have being working on for several years and to the principle of local democracy itself.


Supporting documents:
- Letter to Alistair Burt MP
- BBC Briefing document on NPPF changes
- BBC latest 5 Year Land Supply Report

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